Daily Devotions

Your old men shall dream dreams!

Joel 2:16,28

‘Gather the people! Sanctify the congregation! Assemble the Elders! Gather the children, and those that suck the breasts!…. Afterward, I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh! And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy; your old men shall dream dreams!’ Joel 2:16,28.

Joel specially mentions the grey-headed, children and sucklings. To express that the entire people, from the oldest to the youngest, must assemble! Also the grey-headed, even if they can then do little but dread — shall constantly dream fresh dreams of things previously experienced. The older ones, however, weak, must come! And so too all the sucklings must be there!

Calvin comments: “‘Proclaim,’ he says, ‘a meeting!… Sanctify the Assembly!… The Prophet…afterwards adds: ‘Bring together the old; gather the young, sucking the breasts!’… The Prophet bids here ‘the old’ to be called. For it behoved them to be the leaders of others….

“But…He would have the young, sucking the breasts, to be assembled. Why are these brought in?… Children ought to have been brought together!… For the wrath of God…reached to the very infants!…

“The Prophet promises not what the faithful had before found…. This may easily be gathered from the word here used, ‘pour out’…; to pour forth in great abundance…. The gift of the Spirit was more copiously given to the Church after the advent of Christ….

“‘Your old men shall dream dreams!’…. Prophecy would be common…to the old and those of middle age…. This prophecy must be referred to the advent of Christ…. The Prophet now preaches…the new restoration of the Church…. Peter, in the second chapter of the Acts, says that this prophecy was fulfilled when the Spirit was sent.”

Calvin also says in his Institutes IV:12:17 & II:15:2 & III:1:2: “When He says ‘Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly!’ &c (Joel 2:15) –.He speaks as of things received by common custom…. As Joel has foretold, ‘Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy; your old men shall dream dreams!… Joel 2:28….

“The Spirit would be poured out in richer abundance. One of the most remarkable passages, is that of Joel (2:28): ‘It shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh’… The Prophet…intimates…that God will by the illumination of His Spirit provide Himself with disciples who had previously been altogether ignorant of heavenly doctrine!”

Calvin further states in his Psychopannychia: “Be not alarmed, because all the powers of nature are thought to fail at the very time when you hear of a budding and flourishing old age!… Leave the rest to the Lord, Who guards our entrance and our exit — from this time forth, even for evermore! He it is Who sends the early and the latter rain upon His elect!… Joel 2:23.” For even your old men shall then still dream dreams!